BLACKSBURG, Va. — As C.J. Brown sprinted down the sideline of the field at Lane Stadium during a 38-yard run in Saturday’s game at Virginia Tech, Hokies safety Der’Woun Greene closed in from the Terrapins quarterback’s left side. Brown couldn’t outrun Greene, and the Hokies freshman plastered the signal-caller, sending Brown spiraling out of bounds.

Seconds later, though, Brown popped up and sprinted back to the huddle.

“I think it also sends a message to the other team,” Brown said. “Anytime they get a big hit, you get up right away, it’s like, ‘Oh, that didn’t really affect them.’ Maybe it took the wind out of their sail.”

Brown wasn’t perfect Saturday, but the aggression and confidence evident on that long run lasted all game long and keyed the Terps to a 27-24 upset of Virginia Tech in overtime.

Brown continued his gutsy effort until the game’s final play, too. In overtime, Brown scrambled to his left and stretched the ball over the pylon for a 3-yard touchdown run that sealed a win, snapped the Terps’ three-game losing streak and made the team bowl-eligible for the first time since 2010.

“That play, to me, that last play really epitomized the effort that our team gave all day,” coach Randy Edsall said. “That we had determination, we had a passion, we had a resolve that nothing was going to stop us.”

The team was motivated to give that effort in part because its quarterback was healthy and assertive for the first time since suffering a concussion at Florida State on Oct. 5. For the first time in almost two months, he was setting a positive tone.

“When your leader is out there doing those type of things it gets you to play a little bit harder, to do a little bit more,” Edsall said. “It’s good that he’s healthy and he was able to do those things that he’s capable of doing. Yes I think because of how he played that makes other guys play even harder.”

Still, Brown had his struggles. He didn’t always look comfortable in the pocket, threw one ugly interception and completed less than 50 percent of his passes. In fact, the Terps needed stellar play from the defense and special teams to bail out a sputtering offense early.

But Brown remained confident and made some key plays. He finished with 122 rushing yards and a pair of scores. He also tossed a 16-yard touchdown pass to Nigel King on the first drive of the second half that gave the Terps a two-touchdown cushion.

Beyond that, Brown had poise and burst that he hadn’t displayed in recent weeks. That seemed to help rejuvenate a reeling team, and it shows just how important leadership is from under center.

The spark Brown provided before an announced 64,686 at Lane Stadium wasn’t evident during the Terps’ three-game slide. The veteran quarterback was efficient during the Terps 4-0 start to the season before suffering his concussion at Florida State. Since then, he’s missed two games, and the team hadn’t won a game with him at quarterback.

Saturday, though, Brown was running around like he did early in the season and his renewed energy seemed to rub off on his teammates.

“I felt very comfortable out there,” Brown said. “Body felt good, legs felt good and just a great team win today.”

Brown’s health allowed him to make several big plays with his feet, including the scramble that sealed the victory. And after Brown crossed the goal line on the final play to secure the win, the Terps began mobbing their oft-injured leader.

“I was worried about not getting a concussion,” Brown joked. “Everybody was jumping on me, hitting me on the head and I couldn’t see.”

It was an understandable reaction considering Brown had led them to an upset win that guaranteed bowl eligibility, but the team had better hope the celebration didn’t hurt Brown too much. When he’s healthy, he provides a boost that they don’t want to lose.